Piles of uncollected newspapers helped three robbers set their robbery targets. A three-member gang targeted at least four flats in Noida's gated societies recently.
The gang escaped with cash, jewellery and electronic items, leading the police to take up investigation in the cases, officials said. They were arrested from a park on Wednesday while they were planning another theft, the police added.
The accused have been identified as Rakesh and Ranjeet, both natives of Pratapgarh, and Manoj who is from Unchahar in Raebareli, a senior officer said, adding that the three have been staying in Ghaziabad.
The three-member gang was arrested from Sector 62. The gang has a criminal history in Delhi, Ghaziabad, Noida, Gurugram in NCR along with places in Punjab, Gujarat and Mumbai, officials said.
Noida Superintendent of Police Vineet Jaiswal said, "The gang has several cases of theft and robbery against them. They used to target houses which were close to a garden or park in order to have a safe entry into the house and an easy escape out."
"They would also recce societies to target vulnerable flats by noticing which ones had newspapers lying in front of their doors, suggesting the occupants have been away for a long times, and then strike. When approaching the flat for theft, the trio would use catapults to throw stones in some random direction to divert the attention of security guards and then sneak into the houses," he told reporters.
"The gang told interrogators that they targeted houses which were near metro rail tracks in Noida and they usually broke into houses on weekends when the chances of families being out were the highest," the official said.
The gang has over two dozen cases of robbery, theft and some under Arms Act in Delhi-NCR and a fresh First Information Report or FIR has been registered against at the Sector 58 police station, the superintendent of police said.
The police have also seized USD 80 and Rs 51,500 in cash, eight mobile phones, four yellow metal bangles, one yellow metal necklace, a pair of white-colour metal anklets, four LED televisions, a CCTV camera, a firearm and a knife, he added.